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Age Is No Barrier: how I got involved with inclusive rugby even though I’m not in my 20s

Sheffield is a university city, and so like some other clubs we have a younger demographic of students or recent graduates. However Glenn Allen wanted to share his experiences of being part of the Sheffield Vulcans and getting involved with Inclusive Rugby, even though he isn’t in his 20s 😉

“I played a lot of Rugby, in my hometown, at Uni and for Sheffield Tigers but finished at the age of 28. Torn knee ligaments in a skiing accident caused me to miss the second half of that season, slow rehabilitation and a promotion at work meant my priorities changed and I never went back the following season. That was the year 2000.

Having always been a huge fan of sport, I returned to playing cricket and didn’t consider playing Rugby again – all the while my fitness diminished and my weight increased.

Fast forward to the summer of 2018. I saw an internet article about inclusive Rugby and one of the links listed all of the clubs in the UK, including one nearby, the Sheffield Vulcans. I had been trying to lose weight and increase my fitness, so I thought I’d find out if I could at least attend some training sessions. I had an almost immediate response to my email query, reassuring me that I would not be the only ‘older’ player and I would be very welcome.

In short, it was brilliant. I loved it. It was also hard; so many younger guys far quicker and more mobile than me, but it didn’t matter! Training is a friendly and positive occasion where people can put in as much effort as they are able to. It is a non-judgemental environment that enables people to progress, whether they are new to Rugby or have played previously. The Vulcans are an eclectic, friendly and sociable bunch, with a hardworking committee, dedicated coaching and opportunities for everyone to be involved in the work of the club.

Playing inclusive Rugby gave me more motivation to improve my fitness and gave my weight loss a huge boost. I am now lighter than at any time since I was 20 and this has really helped me contribute on the pitch.

Being a Vulcan has also given me some opportunities to support other players during training, passing on my experience in the front row and with general forward play. Seeing people new to the sport taking newly developed skills onto the pitch during games has been brilliant. Seeing people playing in their first ever game, making a good tackle, or dominating in a scrum or a ruck or whenever someone scores their first try for the Vulcans is the most rewarding aspect of playing Rugby at this end of my career. It is a great team sport and it was one of my better decisions to get involved with Sheffield Vulcans. 

I talked to a few friends when I was thinking of giving Rugby another go and three separate people said pretty much the same thing, “Play. And for as long as possible. There will be a time when you really can’t.”

It was, and still is, great advice.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Sheffield Vulcans, regardless of age, size, experience, or sexual orientation, feel free to get in touch. Email committee@sheffieldvulcans.com or find us on social media @SheffVulcans.